Israel Folau’s relationship with long-time manager Isaac Moses is reportedly “on the rocks”, as the fallout to his battle with Rugby Australia continues.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Folau has all-but split with Moses, who manages some of the most high-profile football stars in the country, after the pair fell out over the Wallabies star’s controversial social media posts.
According to the Herald, Folau ignored advice from Moses to remove his most recent post, as well as pleas to respond to calls from Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs in the immediate hours after.
“It was a slap in the face for two organisations that went to great lengths, under fierce scrutiny, to reach an accord with him after last year’s controversy,” according to the Herald.
Folau has also reportedly grown close to Joe Wehbe, a former business partner of Moses, who is currently suing Moses over a financial dispute.
Ramy Qutami, who is acting as Folau’s solicitor, is also acting for Wehbe against Moses.
Moses was not present when Folau fronted a code of conduct hearing with Rugby Australia last week, with Qutami and wife Maria Folau supporting the embattled star.
On Sunday, Folau revealed how he resisted the “temptation” of a peace offering from Rugby Australia that would have allowed him to resurrect his playing career.
The troubled Wallabies star described his fallout with the governing body as “challenging” and spoke of being tempted by the “opportunity” to rekindle his career with the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies during a Sydney church address.
The fundamentalist Christian faces being sacked by RA after being found to have committed a high-level code of conduct breach for an Instagram post that said hell awaited “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and others.
An independent three-member panel is expected to announce Folau’s sanction this week after deciding the controversial posts left him open to having his four-year, $4 million contract torn up.
But, in a video of him speaking at a church service on Sunday afternoon, Folau insisted the process was not finished and the “outcome is yet to be known”.
“Potentially I could get terminated, which means that there’s no more playing contract and therefore no more finances or money coming in,” he said from the lectern.
“It would be the first time it has happened to me in my life.
“All the materialistic things I have been able to have over the last number of years are slowly being taken away from me.
“It’s been really challenging but also it’s been encouraging to myself to see what my God is actually doing.”
It’s understood Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer would have been allowed to resume playing again had he agreed to take down his latest controversial post.
“There have been many opportunities to potentially make the situation a little bit easier. I could go back and play the game, get everything back to the way it used to be,” Folau said.
“The way Satan works is he offers you stuff that could look good to the eye and makes you feel comfortable, and if you follow that path all the worries and troubles will go away.
“(But) it is always the will of God that comes first.”
The panel deciding Folau’s fate is considering written submissions from both the player’s legal team and Rugby Australia before handing down their verdict.
Both parties then have a right of appeal, meaning the most divisive matter in Australia could drag on for weeks and months yet.